In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat ~ Chapter Thirteen

Edward’s mind was racing as he got in the car. Bella received her heart the same day that Maggie donated hers. What were the odds? Slight for sure, but somewhere deep inside, there was something about her that was familiar. Looking at the time, he knew it was too early to wake his father, and he needed time to calm down. Scanning the area, he was shocked to see he was close to the park where he had taken Bella and Elizabeth. How strange is that? He thought. 

Parking the car, he walked to the water’s edge and sat on one of the benches. Leaning over, placing his elbows on his knees, he allowed the tears to fall. Letting the rippling sounds of the water ease his confused mind and over-sensitive feelings. Why had Bella not told him that she was a heart transplant recipient? Fuck, he was a damn cardiothoracic surgeon for pete’s sake. She knew that! It wasn’t like he would think or feel differently about her because of it. Then he wondered what caused her to need a transplant and how had his dad become her doctor. 

His mind then went back to the day that Maggie died, and Elizabeth was born. Remembering that his mother told him that his father wanted to come, but he had a patient who needed him. Had that been Bella? How sick had she become before she received her transplant? Was that the reason why she was no longer dancing professionally?

Not realizing how long he had sat there, he noticed the sun began to rise over the water. It was so beautiful, and his first thought was that he wished that Bella could be here with him to see it. However, he didn’t know where the relationship was headed, especially if she had Maggie’s heart. 

“Maggie, I need your help?” He cried out to the rising sun. “Is it your heart in Bella, and if so, how can I live with that knowledge?” 

Realizing he needed to talk to his father, he stood and walked to his car. When he started the car, his hands free option notified him that he had three missed calls and two unread texts from Bella. Shaking his head, he couldn’t listen to her voice or read the text. Not now, and he didn’t know when.

The streets were beginning to fill with the early morning commuters, but he was able to get to his parent’s house quickly. After he parked in the driveway, he used his key and walked in the back door, knowing by this time of the morning, his father would be in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.

 As soon as Edward walked in the room, Carlisle raised eyes and smiled, however as soon as he got a better look at his son, he knew something was horribly wrong. He had not seen a look like that since the day they were at the funeral home. Jumping to his feet. “What is wrong?”

“Whose heart did you give Bella?” Edward asked as he gripped the top of one of the chairs. He needed something to help him from collapsing on the floor.

Carlisle thought for a moment. “I never looked, to be honest. Edward, she was on death’s door when we received the news that a heart had been located for her.”

“Dad, is there any possible way that it could be Maggie’s?” Edward asked.

Carlisle’s mouth fell open. He had never thought about it, but there was a very slim possibility. “Maybe, but it would be like a one in a million chance.”

“Dad, I need to know,” Edward cried. 

“Okay, let me dress, and we will check. But has something happened to Bella?”

Edward raked his fingers through his messy hair. “I didn’t know she had had a heart transplant, and when I found out that it was performed on the day of Maggie’s death, I couldn’t think of anything but that it was hers.”

Carlisle laid his hand on Edward’s arm. “Bella never asked about the donor, and I never told her. I know she has been worried about telling you because there is a chance that she can’t have children.”

“That is no reason to keep something like this from me,” Edward growled. “I don’t give a damn about that as long as she is healthy.”

“Give me a few minutes,” Carlisle said as he rushed out of the room. Five minutes later, he came back in dressed with his office keys. Even though he wasn’t practicing on a daily basis, he was still a partner of the practice. 

They walked out of the house and Edward rushed to the driver’s side of his car. The ride to the office was quiet and full of tension. Edward’s mind was all over the place. Suddenly, his phone went off again.

Bella Swan is calling you, would you like to answer? The voice through the car asked.

“No,” Edward said.

“Edward, what are you doing? You can’t just shut her out,” Carlisle implored.

“I’m not, I just don’t know what to say. Dad, if it is Maggie’s heart, I wouldn’t know if I was in love with Bella or Maggie’s heart,” Edward explained.

“It is Bella’s heart. It is part of her,” Carlisle urged.

Edward didn’t respond to his father. Ten minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. Edward walked quickly, and Carlisle had to almost run to keep up with him. He finally caught up with him at the office door. Unlocking it, they went inside and to the back where the office files were kept. Searching down the cabinet until he found Bella’s thick file. Edward looked at it and gasped.

“Is that all her file?” Edward questioned.

“Yes. She collapsed on stage during a performance, luckily I was in the audience that night. As I told you, she only had days to live before her new heart was found. I really thought she was going to die,” Carlisle shared. Taking the file to the desk, he opened it up and began looking for the donor information paperwork. Finally finding it, Carlisle read it, and his heart dropped. Maggie was the donor. Taking a deep breath, he handed the file, turned to the donor information page, to Edward. He didn’t think he could find his voice at the moment.

Edward closed his eyes for a moment and said a silent prayer that it wasn’t Maggie’s heart. He, Bella, and Elizabeth could go on with life together. Opening his eyes, he looked on the paper, and as soon as he read the name, his knees collapsed. “NO!” He wailed. “No, no, no, it can’t be.”

Carlisle got down and wrapped his arm around Edward. “I’m sorry, Son, however, it doesn’t change the fact that it is all Bella that you love.”

Wiping his eyes. “How can you say that? She has Maggie’s heart.”

“Edward, think rationally. It is just an organ, a piece of skin, muscle, and blood.”

“FUCK IT IS! IT WAS MAGGIE’S!” Edward screamed as he pushed off Carlisle’s arm. Getting to his feet, he ran from the office. He needed to get away; he couldn’t breathe in here. He heard his father call out to him, but he didn’t stop until he got to the car. Starting it up, he gunned the engine and peeled out of the parking lot. He needed space to think, and there was only one place he could think of. As he hit the interstate, he remembered he needed to take care of Elizabeth. He decided he would send a text because he would not be able to explain everything.

Mom, I can’t explain, but I need you to watch Elizabeth until I get back. Edward

A few minutes later, she responded to the text.

Of course, but what is happening. Your father just called to say you ran out of the hospital, leaving him to catch a cab home. Whatever it is, we can work through this as a family. Mom

Edward didn’t respond; instead, he turned off his phone. He needed time.

******IAH******

Bella had gotten off the floor. She knew that this was going to happen. Calling and texting Edward several times, and he never responded. It was over. The dream she had been living where she, Edward, and Elizabeth were a family, was over. She loved both of them with all her heart and soul. But Edward didn’t return the feelings. Not wanting to hurt Elizabeth’s delicate feelings, she wondered how she could step away quietly. Maybe it was time to move away from Baltimore. The New York Ballet Company had been after her to come to teach, and this would give her the distance she would need. 

After a long hot shower, she dressed and decided to talk to her parents about her decision. As she was getting ready to walk out the door when her phone rang. Rushing to answer it, thinking it might be Edward, she sighed when it wasn’t.

“Bella, dear, are you okay?” Esme asked worriedly.

“No. Have you seen Edward?”

“No, but dear, can you come over here? There is something we need to talk about,” Esme asked.

“Why? Has something happened to Edward or Elizabeth?”

“They are both fine, but something has come up, and Carlisle would like to talk to you about it face to face,” Esme explained.

“Edward doesn’t want to see me, and I don’t think it is a good idea to be anywhere he might walk in,” Bella murmured, hoping her voice didn’t deceive her. 

Esme didn’t know what to say. What was going on with the two of them? She had never heard Bella sound so heartbroken, even when she was about to die. “Bella, dear, I can assure you that Edward won’t interrupt our conversation. Please just come over.”

“But what about Elizabeth? I don’t think Edward would want me to be around her at this point,” Bella said as her heart broke a little more muttering the words.

“Bella, you would crush Elizabeth if you just stopped seeing her. She loves you dearly,” Esme explained.

Bella thought for a moment and finally agreed. She needed to find out why Carlisle needed to see her and possibly say her goodbyes to Elizabeth. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she walked out of her house and got in her car. She drove in silence, not wanting to listen to the radio, just revisiting her memories of her time with Edward. That is all she will have of him from now on. Arriving at Esme and Carlisle’s home, she tried to fix her face in the mirror before going in. Giving up because there was no way she hid her red swollen eyes, she collected her purse and walked up the door. As soon as she rang the bell, Esme opened the door and pulled her into a warm, comforting hug. 

“Oh, Bella,” Esme cried. “It will all work out.”

“I don’t think so,” Bella whispered, willing herself not to break down. 

Esme pulled back and looked into Bella’s hauntingly sad eyes. She could see the pain and heartbreak in them. “Don’t give up on him, please.” Taking Bella’s hand, she led her into the house and into the den. “Elizabeth is playing next door with a friend. She doesn’t know you were coming over.”

Bella felt better, knowing that she wouldn’t be seeing Elizabeth right away. She looked around and found Carlisle standing in the middle of the room, looking uncharacteristic disheveled. He smiled, but she could tell it was forced. “What is wrong?” She asked.

“Bella, have a seat, please,” Carlisle instructed. Once she sat down on the couch, he came over and sat down beside her. Taking her hand, he took in a deep breath. “When I found out that a donor had been found for you, I was too overwhelmed. Edward’s wife had just died, and I needed to get my mind straight to do your delicate surgery. Afterward, once you were out of danger, I left to go to New York. I never once looked to see who your donor was, and I am guessing you never asked,” Carlisle explained.

“No, I didn’t. I figure it was hard on a family to have to say goodbye to their loved one and didn’t want to be reminded of it by the person who was living because of them. I know that is strange, but that is how I would feel. I am so grateful for the donation, and daily, I thank them,” Bella said.

“There is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to come right out and do it. This morning I looked at your file to find your donor name, and it was Maggie Cullen,” Carlisle stated. He waited and watched for Bella to respond.

Bella closed her eyes and shook her head. This had to be a nightmare. The person who had saved her was Edward’s wife, Elizabeth’s mother, the one woman who Edward loved with all his heart. Standing up, she began to pace the room, trying to make sense of the fact that she had Maggie’s heart. Then it hit her. “Does Edward know?”

“Yes. He was the one who came to me and asked. He figured it out when he found out that you had a heart transplant, and the date was the same as Maggie’s death,” Carlisle responded.

“So, that was the reason he walked out this morning?” Bella asked.

“Yes. Bella, Edward, is very confused at the moment. We know that he loves you, it is very evident, but this is a huge shock,” Carlisle said.

“I never met this person, hell, I don’t know even know what Maggie looked like,” Bella groaned.

Esme got up, open a drawer, and pulled out a frame. Walking over to Bella, she handed it to her. “This was Maggie.”

Bella looked at the woman in the picture and gasped. This couldn’t be. This was the woman who had come to her in her dreams right before she woke up from her surgery.  She remembers what the woman had told her. Take care of them, love them with all your soul, and with all the heart that I am giving you. How could that be, but somehow Bella knew that it was, in fact, Maggie’s spirit. At that moment, she knew she had to fight for their love. Maggie wanted her to take care of Edward and Elizabeth, to love them with all her heart and soul, and damn it, she was going to do it.

“Where is Edward?” Bella asked with a determined look on her face.

Esme had been thinking about the answer to that question since she had gotten the text message from him. Then it hit her. “He has to be at Cape Charles.”

“Give me the address, because I am going after him,” Bella declared.

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